Wizards hold Marines in sensational finish
- Delhi Wizards-Mumbai Marines tie ends in 2-2 draw
- Vikramjeet scores a brace for Wizards; Walmiki, Michael strike for Marines
This was the ultimate city rivalry and despite the intense tussle on the field, both teams walked with their honours intact after 70 minutes of scintillating action. The visitors, Delhi Wizards, came out with a late stunner, four minutes before the hooter, to hold Mumbai Marines to a 2-2 draw in the Bridgestone World Series Hockey here on Sunday.
With goals from Devinder Walmiki and veteran Sandeep Michael, the Marines were cruising along to another famous victory but five minute before the hooter, penalty corner expert Vikramjeet Singh stunned the Marines with a neat conversion to deny them the party that they deserved.
Delhi Wizards were on an aggressive mode right from the beginning. They did not allow the Marines defence to settle down and forced them to commit mistakes. The strategy paid early dividend. Winger Gurwinder Singh sidestepped Devinder Walmiki to enter the D only to be openly obstructed near the baseline on the left. Vikramjeet Singh made no mistake with the resultant penalty corner to put the Wizards into the lead in the 11th minute.
The find of the Bridgestone WSH, Devinder Walmiki, who has twice won the ‘Player of the Match’ award, made quick amends in the second quarter. With a straight flick into the net off the first penalty corner, he delighted the masses on the stand with the equalizer in the 25th minute. The dramatic goal came after the Marines frittered away many sitters, with wayward and harried shots. An otherwise precise Troy Sutherland messed up his forehand against the open cage two minutes before Devinder’s stunner.
The deadly Wizards duo of Pakistani star Shakeel Abbassi and captain Rajpal Singh worked in tandem in the third quarter, and late in the last quarter, giving torrid time to the fragile Marines defence, but the visitors packed no venom in their shooting. Abbasi himself was the culprit in the 60th minute as he shot wayward from the left when he had all the time in the world to dispose the ball into the net.
On the other hand, the Marines got a freak breakaway move in the 46th minute. Midfield star Bimal Lakra effected a strong forehand that hit the charging goalkeeper Mrinal Chaubey, a defender shot the rebound high, but Sandeep Michael, lurking around, raised his stick to deflect the aerial ball into the net to bring up the 2-1 lead for the Marines.
In retaliation, the visitors mounted many attacks, only to see all their work go waste. Captain Adrian D’Souza, getting good support from entire defence line, warded them with extreme alacrity and athleticism. But ultimately, Vikramjeet Singh rescued them on time.
Mumbai relied on counter attacks, received three more penalty corners but could not convert them due to their imperfect drills. It made a difference in the end.
Schedule for March 12: Pune Strykers vs Karnataka Lions at Pune, 7pm; Bhopal Badshahs vs Chennai Cheetahs at Bhopal, 9pm. Live on Neo Sports & Neo Cricket.